Critical Incidents such as “dawn raids” are now a fact of life for any business. Many regulatory authorities have the power of search or to gain entry to premises without notice as well as make arrests, and not a month goes by without some form of “dawn raid” activity being reported in the business pages. Of course not all raids happen at dawn ... but making sure your organisation has a protocol for dealing with a visit bya regulator is crucial.
We have specialist lawyers experienced in providing immediate assistance for raids and other visits or inspections undertaken by:
- HM Revenue and Customs
- Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), European Commission or other competition regulators with concurrent powers
- Serious Fraud Office
- Police (including regional police fraud squad)
- Financial Services Authority
- Health & Safety Executive and local authority enforcement
- Other specialist regulators with statutory powers to enter premises without notice.
On contacting our 24/7 Dawn Raid and Critical Incident Hotline (0870 054 9994), we will immediately put you in contact with the relevant lawyers to provide support and assistance.
It is important to remember that premises, not people, are raided. So your business can be subject to a raid even if nobody within it is actually being investigated. Nonetheless, this can still give rise to significant reputational issues and, unless handled correctly, can also lead to issues with clients and staff.
Professional advisers and financial services businesses in particular need to have regard to the scope of any search warrant to ensure that client confidential information that is outside the warrant's scope is not divulged. This is a situation we will immediately address.
Training – Key Risk Management Issues
In short, a Critical Incident Strategy should now be part of the Risk Management Toolkit for any business. Pinsent Masons provides several levels of Critical Incident Strategy, including, where desired, working with you to devise a bespoke Critical Incident Strategy for your particular business.
The basic offering comprises a half day training session.
This includes two one hour sessions and one 30 minutes session as follows:
- A one hour session with the senior management team
This will cover an explanation of the regulatory authorities' current strategies with regard to criminal investigations, an overview of the search and arrest powers of regulatory authorities, an outline of “what a raid looks like” in practice (including the business recovery strategy), a synopsis of what the regulatory authorities can and cannot do and advice as to what a corporate’s Critical Incident Strategy should comprise.
- A one hour session with selected staff who it is envisaged might deal with a raid in practice
This session looks in more detail at the practicalities of the raid and what it is seeking to achieve. It will include an explanation and analysis of the search warrant, the powers of the regulatory authorities and the rights of employees of the business; key actions in the first hour of a raid; what to do or say in response to questions and requests by the regulatory authorities; the importance of preservation of evidence and what to advise your staff to do; what to do about legally privileged material; and how to deal with other document and IT issues that arise in a raid and afterwards, so that you can get the business up and running again once the regulatory authorities have left the premises. The session will also include various practical scenarios, with guidance on how to make sure your organisation responds appropriately.
- A half-hour session with security reception and administrative staff
These staff will usually be the first people to be aware that a raid is happening. This highly practical session will advise them what to do, who to contact, how to deal with the regulatory authorities when they arrive and a basic overview of the reasons for and background to a raid and of the powers of the regulatory authorities.
Training will be provided by a Partner led team in Pinsent Masons, qualified in the relevant jurisdiction, who have hands-on experience of dealing with a critical incident. It can be provided at the client’s premises, at an off-site location or at any of Pinsent Masons’ offices in London, Birmingham, Leeds, Manchester, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Aberdeen or Belfast. The cost is £2,500plus VAT. We are happy to agree to a follow-up session, more detailed training or guidance for Compliance officers, or a review of a Critical Incident Strategy developed by an organisation following the training. We can also prepare written compliance guidance and other procedures, tailored to the needs of your organisation.
For further information, please contact:
HMRC and Tax related
CMA and Competition related
SFO, Police, fraud, money laundering and corruption related
HSE and local authority enforcement related